Better, faster product launches
By: Paul Harney; Steve DeVrieze | May 02, 2017
How outsourcing to a multi-dimensional partner can cut the time and cost of commercial launches, while giving emerging biotech companies greater flexibility to grow.
When growing biotech companies are poised to launch a new product, many executives are eschewing the traditional approach of building an-house sales staff or out-licensing commercial functions to a larger pharmaceutical company. Instead, these leaders are choosing to partner with a commercial solutions provider who can support their commercial needs without taking ownership or control of the product.
Widespread outsourcing is reflective of the times. Under high pressure to contain fixed costs, most drug companies are reducing their internal capacities in R&D and Commercialization, and relying on outsourcing service providers to improve their efficiency and productivity. It is particularly helpful for growing biotech companies to more rapidly achieve their commercialization goals and timelines, while accommodating gaps in their internal manufacturing operations, clinical capabilities and regulatory expertise.
However, not all commercial outsourcing models deliver the same level of success. In today’s life sciences landscape, it’s common for small to midsize biotech companies to utilize many vendors for product launch needs when they decide to launch the product themselves. This can sometimes involve their own operations team plus six-to-eight outside vendors. Allocating the launch process to such a variety of external parties spreads the risk but often creates gross inefficiency from a lack of a centralized view and redundant efforts. It also can impact decision-making as managers find it hard to deploy a cohesive, integrated launch process.
Partnering with a single commercial solutions provider can be a more effective model, providing biotech companies with greater transparency and agility, while allowing them to tap the global expertise, infrastructure and headcount of a partner with established relationships across the marketplace.
When choosing a partner, biotech companies should look beyond the ability to scale sales resources up and down as needed. To successfully launch a product in today’s marketplace, they need multidimensional, integrated support, from a deep bench of customer engagement staff that includes clinical trial and nurse educators, medical science liaisons, key account managers, national and government account managers, field reimbursement specialists, and sales representatives who all work in concert. A good partner will also provide recruiting and sales training capabilities, as well as extensive data management expertise to support field operations via data analytics, sales force automation, business analytics and performance management.
This combination of competencies and analytics experience can drive leaps in performance both in the field and in efficiency in terms of planning before and throughout the launch and ongoing commercial deployment.
We’ve worked with many clients in these partnerships to help them generate faster results with greater operational agility, including a recent project to market a cardiovascular product. The company wanted to maximize its commercial performance across a wide spectrum of need, including data management, analytics, sales force deployment, medical communications, medical information / pharmacovigilance and sales team technology enablement. By managing all of these aspects of the company’s launch program within 14 weeks, QuintilesIMS enabled a expedient and comprehensive launch solution, and ultimately optimized the go-to-market strategy and execution.
Life sciences companies that are pouring millions of dollars into clinical research and development simply cannot afford a false start. Done right, outsourcing that includes scalable field resources, multifaceted teams, and data and data analytics, not only speeds market launch, it can also help a new medicines outperform expectations by facilitating rapid and more widespread uptake by healthcare professionals and patients. It is a huge advantage that can generate significant long-term value for patients and the company’s bottom line.
Vice President, Business Development, Commercial North America
Recent thinking: Patient relationship management
Vice President and Head, Emerging Biopharma and Technologies, Commercial North America
Recent thinking: High-level strategies for accelerated and efficient product launches